I missed my Pulitzer Prize. During the 2000-01 energy crisis, I listened to an Enron representative explain the \u201csilver peak\u201d gimmick. The company froze up the power line (on paper) in order to create false transmission \u201ccongestion\u201d and reap profits from betting on congestion in the California Independent System Operator\u2019s wholesale market. At the time, everyone was so gung-ho on deregulation that gaming the system was just that--a game. The CAISO users were cats toying with the state\u2019s mice. The state gave them open opportunity. The state encouraged deregulation and did not effectively penalize market manipulation. You know the rest of the story. Now, California is trying the wholesale market again through the quasi-public California Independent System Operator. The new wholesale market is set to begin April 1. This time around few are gung ho. The excitement of potential profits is not in play. According to my observation and to sources close to the plan, everyone\u2019s exhausted by the new wholesale market. It might bring in some cleanliness to wholesale electricity trading. That would be a good thing. The time and money are already spent, so I\u2019m keeping my fingers and my good toes crossed--the ones that weren\u2019t broken last week, that is. The new Market Redesign & Technology Upgrade is supposed to allow both freelance generators and utilities to bid into a day-ahead market. There are a zillion complications but mainly it allows a \u201cmarket\u201d to closely manage the price, destination, and origin of electricity coursing through the state. It\u2019s supposed to take in information on pricing, availability, and ancillary services, like voltage regulation, at some 3,500 \u201cnodes.\u201d It\u2019s what they call \u201cgranularity.\u201d Today, the electricity running through the grid is only defined in three zones out of California\u2019s vast geography. If it works, the theory is that the new market will drive more efficient use of the grid and result in cost savings that work their way down to the retail level. The grid operator believes the new design will do that by minimizing congestion on the grid. The new system will provide a \u201cheads up\u201d on which resources to use and how to route them. Now, CAISO is trying to respond to demand and supply swings, a number of which are unplanned, in real time. For instance, the new market is supposed to signal where new generation and transmission are most needed based on price signals. The three major investor-owned utilities must use the grid operator to move their products. Independent generators have an option to do so or not. Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the Western Area Power Administration divorced CAISO and run their own \u201ccontrol\u201d transmission areas. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power also runs its own grid. Market participants are brittle from testing the software for the last six months. Grid operator staff members have turned gray trying to develop it for the last five years. The \u201cgo live\u201d date has been postponed at least four times. Market participants, both private and investor-owned utilities, believe it\u2019s a good move. Yet they are hesitant to break out the pompoms and cheerlead at this point. It\u2019s a lot of work and money for an incredibly small section of the wholesale \u201cmarket.\u201d At present, the California Independent System Operator\u2019s market is less than 5 percent of the market. Most electricity is sold through long-term contracts these days. In the cowboy days of deregulation, that market took up 35 percent of transactions. The new wholesale market may not increase that 5 percent share, even though it cost over $197.5 million to build. From what I find, participants are walloped over the testing problems with prices and settlements. They may put their toe in the MRTU water, but they are not diving in anytime soon. There\u2019s probably no Enron-types who are judging how to game the new system. But, you never know. While I admire the people who are going gray over building the \u201cfield of MRTU dreams,\u201d I suggest we don\u2019t bet on the teams in California\u2019s wholesale market--although it will be interesting to watch on a summer afternoon. The software alone is remarkably difficult--not something you can buy at Office Depot. Everyone\u2019s software and hardware have to converse with each other, so every \u201cplayer\u201d in the ballpark has to be running the same bases on the same rules with the same computers. It might just work but it\u2019s a lot to expect. There will be (ball) players. There will likely be scammers and hackers. There will be those of us who watch from the stands. April Fools Day was a good date to start up the new market. Best of luck for a good batting average.